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Open Access Research article

A systematic review of population health interventions and Scheduled Tribes in India

KS Mohindra* and Ronald Labonté

Author Affiliations

Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:438  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-438

Published: 26 July 2010

Abstract

Background

Despite India's recent economic growth, health and human development indicators of Scheduled Tribes (ST) or Adivasi (India's indigenous populations) lag behind national averages. The aim of this review was to identify the public health interventions or components of these interventions that are effective in reducing morbidity or mortality rates and reducing risks of ill health among ST populations in India, in order to inform policy and to identify important research gaps.

Methods

We systematically searched and assessed peer-reviewed literature on evaluations or intervention studies of a population health intervention undertaken with an ST population or in a tribal area, with a population health outcome(s), and involving primary data collection.

Results

The evidence compiled in this review revealed three issues that promote effective public health interventions with STs: (1) to develop and implement interventions that are low-cost, give rapid results and can be easily administered, (2): a multi-pronged approach, and (3): involve ST populations in the intervention.

Conclusion

While there is a growing body of knowledge on the health needs of STs, there is a paucity of data on how we can address these needs. We provide suggestions on how to undertake future population health intervention research with ST populations and offer priority research avenues that will help to address our knowledge gap in this area.